Janine Dawson

What is a Customer? 7 Simple Mindset Shifts for Stellar Customer Service

Often, when absorbed in the business of serving others, we can lose sight of why we do what we do. If you want to deliver the best customer service, the kind that creates unwavering customer loyalty, start by asking yourself the question, “What is a customer?”

This question has been addressed by various leaders over the years, and the list has been added to and amended for decades. The following is the version we use in our operation to ensure the kind of customer service that keeps our clients happy and loyal. It proudly sits on every desk and bulletin board in our office:


  1. A customer is the most important person ever.
  2. A customer is not dependent on us — we are dependent on them.
  3. A customer is not an interruption of our work. They are the purpose of our work. We are not doing them a favor by serving them. They are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.
  4.  A customer is not an outsider to our business. They are part of it.
  5. A customer is not a cold statistic. They are flesh-and-blood human beings with feelings and emotions like your own.
  6. A customer is not someone to argue or match wits with. No one ever won an argument with a customer.
  7. Service to our customers is our primary objective.”

At the bottom of our “WHAT IS A CUSTOMER?” poster, is a quote that sums up what we truly believe:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” — Maya Angelou.

What feeling do you want your customers to walk away with?

Article written by :
Janine Dawson
Janine Dawson, founder of Timberwolf Coaching, has 25 years of management and international business experience. Janine applies her expertise in human resources and streamlining systems as she guides her small business clients to overcome communication, employee and operational challenges. Janine’s motto is "Dream BIG and believe that anything is possible."
Related Posts

6 Responses to What is a Customer? 7 Simple Mindset Shifts for Stellar Customer Service

  1. Dr. Sabrina says:

    Never be too busy to help a customer. Great points, Janine. I want my clients to feel hope, then peace, followed by pride in what they’ve accomplished.

  2. Donna Leyens Donna Leyens says:

    I love the two sides of the coin imagery – a customer is not an interruption of work, they are the purpose of our work! And I agree that the feeling they leave with is most important. I want my clients to feel energized, satisfied and enriched by their relationship with us.

  3. Rodrigo Laddaga says:

    Great points Janine! but also we have to remember that we have to get ideal customers, those who give you good business, you love to help them, they love you and everybody is happy. It is easy to get confuse and try to serve some not ideal clients that does not give you a good business, they dont pay and the take you to much attention from you and your company that in fact take you attention away from those ideal customers.

  4. Fred Pieplow says:

    I also see clients who try to punish their customer for some action, like short paying an invoice, or paying late. Never seen this work. Besides that, when we dig deep, most often the reason the customer took their action, is due to something the supplier did to disappoint them! The customer is not a problem, they are an opportunity to solve a problem. And we are all in the problem solving business! Thanks for the post, Janine.

  5. Thanks for this post, Janine. Recently, I had to call a store in NM after there was a problem with a gift my in-laws bought for me. I was on hold for a long time and then disconnected. When I called back, I was told that the woman couldn’t help me because she had customers in the store. I politely explained that I, in effect, was a customer since my in-laws had bought an item from the store. It was an eye-opener for me as a service-based entrepreneur. Really have to think before speaking to make sure my words will not tarnish my brand/services/reputation.

  6. Thanks for this reminder, Janine:

    A customer is not an outsider to our business. They are part of it.

    So true!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.